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Retirement is an exciting stage of life for seniors. With time to unwind and partake in recreational activities, those typically aged 65 years and over have the opportunity to embark on a new chapter in their life. 

When making the big decision to retire, there are many factors to consider. Choosing not only when to retire, but where to live during older age is integral. When thinking about your future quality of life, you may wish to assess which areas can offer the best affordability, healthcare options and retirement-friendly activities to name a few. 

All of these factors differ from place to place in the US so at Dollar Hand, we have done the research for you and compiled a list of what we recommend as the top 15 places to retire in. Our findings are largely based on data from the NeighborhoodScout and the 2020 American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau which helped to shed light on some great retirement spots. 

How We Determined Our List

We analyzed over 600 strong contenders to come up with the top list of places to retire in the U.S. Using data from the 2020 American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau and the NeighborhoodScout we largely took into account the following 2 key topics:

  1. Affordability – It is important to consider the main costs of living to gauge how far money would stretch seniors in a new town. To do this we have looked at median home value as a lower median home value indicates that houses are overall a lower price compared to other places in the US, making them a potentially good place to purchase a property so retirees don’t dip too much into their savings. This also applies to median monthly homeowner costs so we looked at areas with smaller bills for essentials such as utilities. We have also analyzed places with lower median monthly rents for those not looking to buy a property outright.  
  2. Quality of Life –  We evaluated US residents’ health insurance coverage as the fewer people without health insurance coverage, the more promising the place as this suggests the area offers affordable health insurance, meaning residents would not need to worry about paying huge fees for medical care. Crime rate per 1,000 residents was also an important factor to consider to ensure senior citizens would feel safe in their environment. 

Our internal scoring system takes all of the above factors into consideration to provide an overall score of the places that are best to retire in. In this case, the lower the score, the stronger the contender. 

 

Key Findings

The Midwest Is A Strong Contender – The Midwest is often applauded for being a popular place to live, and it is no exception when it comes to retiring. With states like Michigan, Indiana and Illinois featuring on this list, the Midwest appears to be a desirable place for seniors to relocate to.

The Outdoors Are Popular – A common theme within our chosen 15 top places to retire is the variety of outdoor amenities available within the cities. Retirees will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the abundance of parks, trails, rivers, lakes and beaches set amongst the most beautiful landscapes.

 

The Top 15 Places To Retire in the US

1. Flint, Michigan

Home to over 81,000 citizens, Flint City trumps as an ideal retirement environment. Those looking to downsize will find much more affordable properties than in other US towns, with the median home value as low as $34,000. 

Located along the Flint River, seniors residing in this wonderful area can explore the 11,000 acres of woods, water and trails of Michigan’s largest county park systems. The Flint Farmers’ Market, shops, galleries and museums to name a few will certainly keep residents busy and those looking for recreational activities can enjoy sports including a round of golf.

 

2. Youngstown, Ohio

With the lowest median monthly homeowner cost of $440, it is not surprising that Youngstown City is second on the list. Youngstown offers the perfect retirement destination for those wanting to enjoy urban living at an affordable price. 

Located in eastern Ohio along the Pennsylvania border, the city offers a host of great restaurants, shops and theaters, as well as parks, nature reserves and golf courses. A wide variety of neighborhood groups means that retirees can also be actively engaged in the community.

youngstown

 

3. Muncie, Indiana

Nature enthusiasts can enjoy the abundance of parks and trails in this retirement-friendly city, and cultural lovers will have a great time ambling around the vibrant downtown. Muncie City boasts a low crime rate of 32.98 per 1,000 residents and there are many opportunities to be involved in the social scene of the community. There are also no residents aged over 65 years old without health insurance cover.

4. Gary, Indiana

With a strong score of 50.5, it does not come as a surprise that nearly one-fifth of the city’s population are over 65 year olds. This lovely community on the shores of Lake Michigan is the perfect setting for active adults who envision spending their days swimming and boating. Seniors can also explore the 15,000 acres of the exquisite Indiana Dunes National Park, scouting for rare species of birds or meandering on the peaceful sandy beach. 

 

5. Dayton, Ohio

Dayton has witnessed a surge in popularity amongst retirees. Alongside the low cost of living, seniors are spoilt for choice when it comes to recreational activities, with options to visit local attractions such as museums and exhibitions, and parks with an abundance of green space. Community spirit also makes the city an attractive place for retirement and there are multiple home communities being built in the area for adults, many with clubhouses, outdoor pools and walking trails.

 

6. Canton, Ohio

With a low median monthly homeowner cost of $621 and a low median monthly rent of $636, Canton City is undoubtedly an affordable US place to retire. No residents aged over 65 years old are without health insurance coverage and the city boasts a solid health cost index at 82.6. Local attractions include the Centennial Plaza and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and there are many shops to enjoy and a wide range of culinary delights.

canton

 

7. Pharr, Texas

Based in the Rio Grande Valley, this charming city combines a lovely dessert setting and a low cost of living to formulate an enjoyable rural retirement. With a low crime rate per 1,000 residents of 20.75 and 6 hospitals within 1 mile of the city, residents would be sure to live a good quality of life in the region.

8. Reading, Pennsylvania

Reading, a cultural haven in southern Pennsylvania, is an ideal town for retirees who are young at heart and wish to enjoy urban life at a reasonable price. Seniors can be kept busy exploring roadside attractions, touring historic buildings or wandering through museums such as the Reading Public Museum which also includes a planetarium and arboretum. With 0 residents aged over 65 without health insurance coverage, this reputable city also has many top of the range home care agencies and living accommodations.

9. Cleveland, Ohio

Located on Lake Erie, Cleveland is a top-notch place for retirement. The city is filled with the benefits of a big-city but is still laid-back enough to have a relaxed way of life. The modest cost of living is an enticing reason you may wish to live in Cleveland as alongside a low median monthly homeowner cost of $677, there is affordable transportation via rail or bus that has discounts for seniors.    

Accessibility to high-quality health care is apparent, with multiple hospitals and medical centers within and just outside of city limits. Examples include Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital which have earned national rankings in a variety of specialties and procedures.

 

10. Decatur, Illinois

Populated with over 70,000 Americans, Decatur offers a suburban feel within Macon County. 20% of residents are over 65 years of age and senior care communities offer a wide range of amenities including wellness centers, chapels, weekday exercise classes and even an ice cream parlor. The city boasts a low median monthly rent of $669 for those not looking to purchase a property, and is home to many stores, restaurants, parks, golf courses and an inland lake where residents can enjoy a tranquil day of fishing.

decatur

 

11. Rochester, New York

Featuring a unique blend of history and innovation, Rochester is a unique place to retire in the US. Known to be full of warm and welcoming people, seniors can enjoy a good quality of life and be kept busy with the many outdoor festivals celebrating local artisans, different cultures and fruit or spend warm days out on the water sailing or fishing. With the Rochester Police Department and Fire Department dedicated to protecting the community, residents can feel protected and safe, and they can be rest assured about having good medical protection since there are no residents aged over 65 years old without health insurance.

 

12. Detroit, Michigan

With a low median home value of $58,900, Detroit City is a marvelous destination to settle down in.The median monthly homeowner cost is only $542, meaning residents should be able to spend less on bills and more on the vibrant activities that this thriving city has to offer. 

Detroit’s cultural scene is in its prime with theaters, restaurants, art installations, architectural gems and distinctive museums to name a few. Sport enthusiasts can enjoy all that Detroit has to offer whether its hockey, football, basketball or baseball games where seniors can cheer for the home teams. Residents can also explore the promenade of entertainment and outdoor recreation along the Detroit River at the RiverWalk.

 

13. Evansville, Indiana

Evansvillle is a medium-sized city in southwestern Indiana, near the Illinois and Kentucky borders. Founded on a giant horseshoe bend of the Ohio River, the city is the medical and cultural hub of Vanderburgh County. Retirees who wish to settle down in a college town with a low cost of living, top notch medical care, a great library, historical district and many social events will certainly enjoy living here.  

evansville

14. Jackson, Mississippi

Located along the Pearl River, Jackson is the largest city in Mississippi. The cultural center boasts the ballet, arts and museums, as well as many recreational activities such as bike paths, fairs and festivals, shopping, sports events, golf courses and hiking trails to name a few. 

Because of its detailed past, history buffs will certainly benefit from retiring here, as well as those looking to reside in a large southern college town with minimal overheads. Known as the “city with soul”, the community is extremely friendly and offers the optimal environment to retire in. Senior housing options include affordable housing, assisted living and RV Parks.

15. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham is a great city for retirees thanks to the city’s affordability and vibrant culture. Seniors can enjoy their retirement benefits with Birmingham’s wide range of dining options, entertainment and sports to name a few. Mild winters mean that the beaches, urban parks and golf courses can be enjoyed all year round.

Alabama is also financially-friendly towards retirees as Social Security income is not taxed and the cost of living is 13% below the national average. Only 9 residents aged over 65 years old do not have health insurance coverage.

birmingham

 

Data Findings: Top 15 US Places To Retire 

Rank Place Median Home Value ($) Median Monthly Homeowner Cost ($) Median Monthly Rent ($) Residents Aged Over 65 Without Health Insurance Coverage Crime Rate Per 1,000 Residents Score
1 Flint, Michigan 34,400 491 735 0 33.21 38.04
2 Youngstown, Ohio 50,200 440 674 270 36.79 45.16
3 Muncie, Indiana 77,500 575 687 0 32.98 47.33
4 Gary, Indiana 63,800 639 805 58 38.51 50.50
5 Dayton, Ohio 67,900 587 730 31 50.23 50.59
6 Canton, Ohio 77,900 621 636 0 62.42 53.20
7 Pharr, Texas 82,000 531 740 370 20.76 53.37
8 Reading, Pennsylvania 77,700 756 833 0 34.16 54.15
9 Cleveland, Ohio 71,100 677 725 41 58.29 54.74
10 Decatur, Illinois 87,800 700 669 206 33.79 55.82
11 Rochester, New York 87,000 790 847 0 40.66 58.27
12 Detroit, Michigan 58,900 542 866 389 55.84 58.88
13 Evansville, Indiana 97,700 720 804 0 46.35 59.29
14 Jackson, Mississippi 91,100 745 858 216 50.18 64.64
15 Birmingham, Alabama 98,800 788 839 9 66.48 67.40

 

Justine Gray

Justine is a full-time writer, specializing in household income and consumer finance across the US.

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